chapter  Two
18 Pages

Epilepsy and the unconscious

ByLawrence Goldie, Jane Desmarais

Before the development of electroencephalography in the 1870s, it was difficult sometimes to distinguish true epilepsy from hysterical manifestations, but the English neurologist, John Hughlings Jackson directed scientific attention to reflex epilepsy by his description of a case in 1886. From about 1924, the year of the first human encephalogram, it became possible to identify a definite electro-encephalogram change in response to a stimulus, and it presented opportunities for relating the electrical changes produced by a seizure to complex affective changes. In the early 1930s a multiplicity of tactile and auditory factors was identified as operating in reflex epilepsy, but this had to be revised a few years later with the discovery of cases of musicogenic epilepsy, where often the fit appears to be an affective response associated with music. This was the focus of research under D. Hill and his colleagues working for the Ford Foundation at the Institute of Psychiatry, in London, in the 1940s and 1950s.